{modern, stylized and urban couture~ san diego county based destination photographer}

Nicole Benitez

I am a Modern Stylized and Urban Couture Photographer based in San Diego {Southern California} and always available for session and wedding travel. Specializing in Modeling Portfolios, Commercial and Editorial Photography, Weddings, Couples, Kids and Seniors.

I love God, cupcakes, handbags, shoes, my family and wine. We recently moved back to California after my husband retired from the Marine Corps and we are living life in the Southern California sunshine.

Thanks for stopping by, make sure you leave some comment love so I know you were here. oxox

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Look, A Moment, A Feeling.. The Inspiration of Annie Armitage {Photographers that Inspire}

I am so excited to start doing this {Photographers that Inspire} series. It took me a little while to work up the courage to start reaching out to those who inspire me, but this year is all about getting over the FEAR and hopefully inspiring others.
I can't pinpoint when I first ran across Annie Armitage's work, but I remember feeling the color and emotion in everything that she does. She made me feel every mood, every look, every moment and I was smitten. She is absolutely amazing and I am honored that she said yes to being our first interviewee for this series!

Where do you live?
Kingston upon Thames, SW London, UK with my husband Tony and 11 year old son, Peter.

What describes your style?
I actually have no idea – I wish I knew!

What is your favorite thing{s} to shoot?
At the moment.....teenagers, families with young children and women’s head shots

Name 3 things that would describe you

What is your favorite lens?
Canon 85mm L 1.2 – I love it with a passion!!!!

Do you struggle with finding balance between work and family? How do you handle it?
I only found what I finally wanted to do with my life 6 years ago and I have had quite a journey to be where I am now. Photography is now so huge in my life! But it is a constant battle as far as work/life balance. I am working hard to build a business particularly in the current economic conditions so my family have been very patient knowing that it is all going to be OK in the long run.......

If you weren't a photographer, what would you want to be doing? Personal assistant is one of the many “service” type jobs that I used to do.........if I didn’t have to earn anything I would go back to singing which is my first love.

What do you wish you were better at? Or could do more of?
Off camera flash and studio work.....but it is all about more training and practice!

How do you prepare for a shoot?
For my family shoots I always visit them a few days before hand so I am aware of their requirements and also the children are more at ease when I arrive on the day. My equipment is all checked, batteries charged the day before and I research some ideas of what I can do differently.
Can you briefly describe your workflow?
After the shoot I download all the RAW images and back up on two external hardrives and a DVD. I then edit down to around 80-100 images for a family shoot, batch rename process the RAW and convert to PSDs. I then look at each image individually to see what it needs as in which of my actions to use and any retouching on portraits up to a certain point for a viewing standard. After the processing has been done I convert to JPEGS in both high and low resolution. I then back up everything again!! The low resolution files are used in an Animoto slideshow production for the introduction to the viewing.
If you could give other photographers one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be a business person first, photographer second..............it is has taken me a long time to take that one in!
Who inspires you?
My clients, new projects, exhibitions, gallery visits. One of my favourite photographers is Fer Juaristi from Mexico - I love his work. It is all well and good trying to do what is right for qualifications and competitions but he inspires me to “think out of the box” and go with a gut instinct of not being afraid to do something that is different which won’t necessarily win awards but it will stir the heart instead......I think that is far more important!

To see more of Annie's work you can visit her
and follow her on Facebook

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sunny Days on the Beach... Kait Emerson Designs || {Commercial Shoot}

Sometimes Kailyn and Madison feel a little left out of the vendor love when I shoot for commercial projects. Unless we are doing headbands or gorgeous hats, they don't get any goodies. When a package comes in the mail, it is  usually followed with "Let's see what kind of cute clothes the twins and Tank are getting. Don't you shoot for anyone that does our sizes??" I think they are using reverse psychology on me and it usually ends with me giving them a squeeze and agreeing to a trip to Hollister.
They along with everyone else that is familiar with Kait Emerson Designs, we have been begging for a women and teen line for some time  and when Feanna announced that they were working up some designs, I was over the moon! I am back today to show off the new Kait Emerson Designs Teen and Women's line debut! Taking their fun, playful prints to a grown up level. Congrats Feanna!! They are gorgeous!
In addtion to going broke with KED for the little kids, I might just start sending her payments toward mine and the older girl's wish lists!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring has Sprung... Huntington Beach || Kait Emerson Designs {commercial shoot}

 Flowers, sunshine, chirping birds, breakfast on the back patio, morning walks on the beach and baseball season. Oh how I am ready for spring!! Mid January seemed like perfect early spring weather, but as of late.. it is chilly in Southern California. Yes, I realize I just referred to 60 degree weather as chilly and may be stoned by all of my midwest and east coast friends, but I have taken to wearing beanies and scarves as a means to stay warm and not just fashionable attire when I decide not to do my hair for the day.
A couple of weeks ago I headed out to Huntington Beach on one of those glorious Southern California warm winter days {don't hate, I think it was 75 out} for another super fun commercial shoot for Kait Emerson Designs. Her 2011 lines are A-mazing!! You can check out some of the new boys line HERE, and I'll be posting the debut of the women's line this afternoon {it is gorgeous!}.
This post is dedicated to the girlies though... I am in love with the fun colors and mix and match-a-bility of the pieces! I may go broke buying up all of this cuteness for the twins!! Love it all!
Designer || Kait Emerson Designs  on Etsy
Location: Huntington Beach Pier

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Meet Miss Megan- Future MD ... Class of 2011 || Chino Hills High School

She's a little bit shy, definitely on the quiet side and has the most gorgeous smile! That's only the start to Miss Megan... class of 2011 Chino hills High Senior. She's also an insanely good varsity soccer player,  gorgeous and she is going to be a doctor! Miss Megan M.D. has a nice ring to it.
We met up at the Galleano Winery for a fun session around their unique property. The first time I went for a visit, I knew it would be a unique place for a killer session. Despite the crazy wind from the day, it was perfect. Megan rocked out a little wind blown hair {which makes her even more gorgeous} and a fine line between honey sweet and gorgeous braniac.
A huge thanks to Stephanie of Stephanie Boardman Hair &Makeup Artistry for another amazing job!

Showing off... Kait Emerson Designs Spring Boys || Huntington Beach {commercial shoot}

Kait Emerson Designs is a fave in our house! We love pretty much everything that Feanna creates and when she asked me to Huntington Beach to shoot her new spring/ summer collections, I couldn't make the date fast enough!! 
I already posted a little sneak peek HERE, and there will be a couple of extra posts coming soon showing off her gorgeous new girls lines and her first ever women's collection {!!}. Up today... her adorable new boys separates!
Love. them. all!!!!
If you don't already follow her on Facebook.. you can HERE, she is always posting sneaks of gorgeous new designs and SALE listings!!